We still cant believe that Summer 2021 has already come and gone. Tonight is the first Shabbat In 10 weeks that the Beit K’nesset isn’t full of campers, staff, and faculty singing our favorite camp tunes. We will miss seeing the sun set over the lake and hearing the sounds of footsteps on the rock-filled ground of our beloved chapel.

Returning home is bittersweet for us all. There is the joy of seeing our home friends and family again, there is the sadness for leaving our beloved summer home, there is the exhaustion after the many late nights talking to friends in our cabins, the rush of energy after our first home shower and night’s rest in our own beds, and everything in between. When these happy emotions mix with the sad ones, the return home can feel a little overwhelming for everyone – whether you have just spent your summer at camp or you are welcoming your child home from theirs.

On top of the transition back home, there is the transition back into the school year. In the blink of an eye, the freedom and relaxation of summer is coming to a close. There are so many thoughts and memories running through our minds, and feelings to identify within ourselves.

When we packed our bags to return home from camp, we packed our pillows and linens, we packed our hats and water bottles, we packed our clothes (and some of our friends’ clothes), but on top of it all, we packed up our experiences. We packed the friendships that we made, we packed the growth and independence that we gained, and we packed up from a COVID-free camp bubble that we successfully created during an unforgettable summer like GFC has never seen before. We are still trying to figure out how to adjust to not seeing the people that have been around us for 24 hours a day for the last 4-8 weeks.

Now, it is time to unpack. It is time to do the 10 loads of laundry that we all have, it is time to scrub the dirt off of our feet and take nice, long, warm showers at home. It is time to smile through all of our favorite memories, and it is time to look forward to the year ahead of us. Just because the summer is over, we know that we will all be together soon. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

GFC will see you soon and welcome you back with open arms.

-Michaela Rollins